ScotRail: New timetables will ‘add an extra 10,000 seats’ across the country
By Democrat reporter
BBC Scotland is reporting that ScotRail has vowed that the latest changes to timetables across the country will add 10,000 extra seats for passengers each day.
The improvements, which include a new station at Robroyston in the north of Glasgow, take effect on 15 December.
Among the key differences is a sharp rise in services in the north east and more carriages on busy commuter lines in the central belt and Fife.
The operator has come under fire from Dumbarton and Lomond Labour MSP Jackie Baillie for overcrowding and cancellations.
Ms Baillie raised the matter with the First Minister in the Scottish Parliament on Thursday.
Jackie Baillie MSP and Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister.
She said: “I know that the First Minister does not travel on my local train service from Dumbarton to Helensburgh or Balloch, because if she did she would know that trains are regularly cancelled or delayed; they arrive in rush hour with three carriages instead of six; and it is standing room only for passengers who are crammed in like sardines.
“Stop skipping is back and passengers are being left stranded at stations far from home. To add insult to injury, prices continue to rise while the service continues to get worse. When will the First Minister come down on the side of passengers, rather than protecting the really poor service from Abellio?”
The First Minister replied: “The Scottish Government always acts to seek the improvements to services that passengers deserve. Abellio has an obligation to make sure that it is tackling the issues that Jackie Baillie described, and it is doing so, as is right and proper. Consideration of the future of that franchise will continue, in line with the requirements that we work within, but I make no bones about expecting Abellio to deliver the improvements that passengers deserve and which Scottish taxpayers pay handsomely for.”
ScotRail said the changes, which include 1,500 more seats on the Borders Railway and extra seats between Edinburgh and Glasgow, will have a positive impact.
Operations director David Simpson said: “The improvements we are making to our timetable from December will deliver even more benefits for our customers, delivering more seats, more services, and a new station in the north east of Glasgow.
“The £475m investment in new and upgraded trains and the infrastructure improvements across the country are all part of building the best railway Scotland has ever had.”
Bill Reeve, Transport Scotland’s director of rail, said: “Passengers will welcome many of the changes up and down the country.
“This shows our significant investment is delivering more seats and more services than ever before.”
The operator said a new timetable between Inverurie, Dyce and Aberdeen would provide more than 50% more services.
Up to three trains per hour will operate between those stations and there will be more direct journeys across Aberdeenshire between Inverurie, Stonehaven and Montrose.
The route between Edinburgh and Glasgow via Falkirk High will now have eight carriages for every peak service.
And in the Borders, two of the most popular morning services between Tweedbank and South Gyle will have extra carriages.
ScotRail claims there are more than 2,400 trains running every weekday, an increase of 9% from 10 years ago.
Further timetable improvements will be delivered in May and December 2020.